Transportation & Community Design Program Director
Traverse City, where Groundwork’s Deputy Director Jim Bruckbauer and his family make their home, has received many accolades in recent years for its liveability, and that liveability is precisely what the Bruckbauers tap into every day. “We just spend a lot of time walking around our neighborhood, playing at parks and beaches, heading downtown and getting to know neighbors,” Jim says.
The richness of those experiences, of seeing up close how valuable and rewarding a resilient community can be, inspires his work at Groundwork. “We support policies that allow more people to live in town and get around without having to depend on a car,” he says.
As director of our Transportation & Community Design program, Jim oversees Groundwork’s strategic direction and partner building in projects as diverse as passenger rail, livable neighborhoods, roads, parking, and housing. “I am always looking for ways to support vibrant downtowns, better housing strategies, and transportation choices in Michigan,” he says. He finds ongoing inspiration in James Howard Kunstler’s book, The Geography of Nowhere. “It’s the original must-read for anyone interested in cities and communities.” Jim’s devotion to creating resilient and healthy towns is on full display in his work leading the effort to re-establish passenger rail service from Ann Arbor to Traverse City—a project that could increase development in train-stop towns all along the route, shrink traffic, reduce pollution and help recruit millennial talent to Michigan businesses.
Looking ahead, Jim is excited to see how Groundwork’s program specialists are developing into respected policy leaders on our issues regionally, statewide and even nationally.